"Is there any answer I can give that won't result in a prolonged beating?"
"Darn it, that was going to be my morning cardio!"Said whenever a nervous character is trying on a new set of clothes, especially before a date: "Does this (shirt, pair of pants, etc.) make me look fat?" Sometimes variations are used such as "Do I look fat?", "Does this make my butt look big?" or "I think I've gained some weight, what do you think?" This is a trick question that brings terror to husbands in all Dom Coms (as she's not asking how the clothes make her look as much as how she looks), as he is never able to answer in a way that won't make his wife angry (saying "No" will convince her he's just saying what she wants to hear). Unless of course he just doesn't give a damn, in which case the answer is either "Yes" or "No, that doesn't make you look fat. Your fat makes you look fat." In the UK the usual phrasing is, "Does my bum look big in this?" This is mostly a Discredited Trope (if not a Dead Horse Trope) now, so a character will rarely ask it except when the question is really absurd. For instance, if the character is blatantly fat or skinny, or has a hideous facial scar that will draw more attention, or is an alien trying to mate. One way that it still works is often when a woman is pregnant. Since she is getting noticeably bigger (if not fatter, at least larger and often swollen), this leaves the husband in a particular bind. However, there is still some element of Truth in Television. If someone ever asks you this question in Real Life, the answer is always, "You look great." Or (depending on how risque you're feeling) "It'd look best on the floor." Subtrope of Morton's Fork.
— The Bunny System, "The Definition of Dilemma"
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- A certain Geico commercial shows a wife asking her distracted husband, "Honey, does this dress make me look fat?", to which he — not really hearing the question — cheerfully murmurs "You betcha" in response. The voiceover adds: "In the time it takes to pull out the sleeper sofa, you can save hundreds on car insurance."
- In a Twix commercial, a husband finally manages to come up with the right answer to the question - by chomping into a Twix bar then mumbling something incomprehensible around it, thereby allowing his wife to interpret it however she wants.
- In a commercial for a local sofa store, as the couple was preparing to go to bed, the husband says to the wife "remember that dress you tried on today? on second thought it WAS a little tight" turns out he said it just so she would make him sleep on the couch... the new big very comfortable couch that they just bought from the sofa store.
- An Australian ad for Dare iced coffee has the man replying honestly (after taking a swig of Dare) to the question "Does my bum look big in this?" with "At least it takes the attention off your face". Riffed on by another company's ad (for cheap mobile phone plans) which has the man replying "No" without looking up from his newspaper (the wife is facing away from him at the time).
- In the closing moments of a radio commercial for garage doors, a woman asks "Does this garage door make my house look fat?"
- A commercial for X-Play played up how the show "tells it like it is". A woman trying on pants asks her husband/boyfriend if the pants make her butt look big, and he responds, completely disinterested, "No, you just have a really huge ass. The jeans are fine."
Anime and Manga
- In the Cyborg 009 2001 TV series, when Francoise/003 has to put on a Chinese dress to help out in Chang/006's Chinese restaurant, she asks the others if she looks fat on it.
- In the Magic Knight Rayearth anime series, Umi has to wear a very Stripperiffic odalisque outfit when captured by the Chizeta princesses, and one of the reasons why she's NOT happy to dress up in it is that she's sure she's put on weight lately.
- A variant in Namiuchigiwa No Muromisan, where Muromi asks Takurou about his preferences regarding breasts. When Takurou plays out the scenes in his mind, all three of his hypothetical answers involve in him getting slapped. He chooses to run away.
- In odd version in The Movie for Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!. While the Cures are enjoying themselves in the Sweets Kingdom, Karen haphazardly mentions that they probably shouldn't eat so many sweets. Suddenly, Urara, Nozomi and Rin just ham it up as they tell her that she's right and they have to give up the sweets, dramatically bidding it all farewell. Karen's absolutely gobsmacked by the reaction and after turning to Komachi briefly, she turns back and apologizes. Thankfully, Chocola, the person who brought them to the place, lets them know that they will not be affected by the sweets and they can have as much as they can.
- Atom Eve from Invincible asks if a skirt makes her butt look bigger.◊
- In Supergirl Volume 2 #20, Superman unveils a statue erected in honor of his cousin. Supergirl feels flattered... but then she asks:
Supergirl: Say, Kal... Am I really as pudgy as the statue makes me look?
Superman: Ha Ha Ha – No way! Happy anniversary, cousin!
Films — Animated
- In Disney's Mulan, Mulan disguises herself and her comrades as concubines to fool the bad guys. After she asks if there are any questions, Yao (who is short and dumpy with a disfigured face) says "Does this dress make me look fat?" He's heard getting slapped for it offscreen. This is also an inside joke since Yao is voiced by Harvey Fierstein, who often performs in drag.
- In Toy Story 2, Buzz is looking at one of hundreds of unopened Buzz Lightyear toys in Al's Toy Barn on display, wondering, "Am I really that fat?"
- From a trailer of Brother Bear, Rutt asks if the camera was making him look fat. Tuke merely retorts "No, it's the fat that makes you look fat!"
- Sev Trek: Pus in Boots (an Australian CGI spoof of Star Trek: The Next Generation) has a shapeshifting alien mimic Worf and ask him "Tell me honestly — does my bum look big in this form?" The real Worf informs him that today is a good day to diet.
Films — Live-Action
- Male example from Tommy Boy:
Tommy: Hey, does this suit make me look fat?Richard: No no no, your face does.
- Tagline for DEBS: "Do these guns make us look fat?"
- The tagline for the historical comedy Gladiatress is "Does my Gluteus Maximus look big in this?"
- Cissy asks her brother Brandon this (after he has seen her naked in the bath) in Shame. When he declines to answer, she pinches him angrily and exclaims "Fuck you!"
- Referenced in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, as Jack Sparrow answers a string of questions that two prostitutes apparently asked him offscreen just prior to one of the film's final scenes.
Jack Sparrow: " Ladies! Will you please shut it? Listen to me. Yes, I lied to you. No, I don't love you. Of course it makes you look fat. I've never been to Brussels. It is pronounced 'egregious'. By the way, no, I've never met Pizzaro but I love his pies. And all of this pales to utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is once again gone. Savvy?"
- In Bye Bye Love, this made it into the trailer:
Claire. We had to take back the graduation dress.Emma. It made me look fat.Paul. You couldn't look fat if you wanted to!Emma. Why would I want to look fat?Paul. You wouldn't! You couldn't!
- Dodged around in Starfighters of Adumar, when Red Flight has to wear the hated New Republic dress uniforms, which include body stockings that reveal any extra weight an image-conscious pilot might be carrying.
Hobbie: "I feel fat."Wes: "You're not fat. Except — never mind."Hobbie: "What?"Wes: "Nothing."Hobbie: "No, tell me. I've been working out. I've been good. You just can't work on everything."Wes: "That's right. It's scarcely noticeable."
- The "Does My Butt Look Big In This?" variant was referenced by the title of Randa Abtel-Fatah's book about a Muslim girl who decides to start wearing the hijab, Does My Head Look Big In This?.
- In Full Tilt, Maggie's self-esteem issues are established early on when she asks this question after looking in a funhouse mirror (not joking in the slightest.) It gets a Call Back in the Hall of Mirrors, where the question reveals to Blake that she's the monster pursuing him.
- In the novel Webs Upon Webs, a FBI Agent asks this to her partner - because they're trying not to look like how they normally do for this mission. It's a rare case where 'no' gets groaning and more clothing changes. It's also a male case, as it's harder to make someone look thinner and much easier to just make himself look bigger.
- According to Dave Barry, the answer is "flee the continent".
- In The Nanny, Brighton (who was probably 14) explains this to his father:
Brighton: Dad, when are you gonna learn? Does this make me look fat? NO. Do you like my hair this way? YES. Is my tush wider than usual? There is no right answer for that one.
- Subverted in Married... with Children, "Episode 809: No Ma'am":
Al Bundy: It's not the dress that makes you look fat—it's the fat that makes you look fat!
- Also subverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Freshman":
Vamp Minion: Does this sweater make me look fat?
Sunday (Vamp Leader): No, the fact that you're fat makes you look fat. That sweater just makes you look purple.
- Subverted in Scrubs: Turk advises JD that the only difference when dating a black girl vs a white girl is that if his African-American girlfriend asks if her ass looks big, he should reply "Hell, yeah!"
- In the Lost episode "Tricia Tanaka is Dead," Sawyer teaches Jin the only three phrases he needs to know in English: "I'm sorry," "You were right," and "Those pants don't make you look fat."
- Jeff on Community once wanted to know if a hard-boiled egg he was holding made him look fat, and was hurt/indignant when that comment bred laughs.
Jeff: It was a particularly small egg! That's why I was asking.
- On Friends, Ross and Rachel help Chandler in the aftermath of a fight with Janice:
Chandler: Okay, well, Janice said "Hi. Do I look fat today?" and I looked at her...Ross: Whoa. Whoa. You looked at her? You never look. You just answer. It's like a reflex. "Do I look fat?" "No." "Is she prettier than I am?" "No." "Does size matter?"Rachel: "No."Ross: And it works both ways.
- Used in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles when someone asks this question of Cameron. She briefly examines the questioner and responds, "Yes".
- In a later episode Cameron, who's starting to get the hang of this teenage communication thing, asks a male student if the two pizza slices she's eaten make her look fat. The student, his proverbial tongue hanging out, naturally replies that she looks just fine.
- According to Joss Whedon: What were Summer Glau's first words on the set of Firefly? "Does this cryogenic chamber make me look fat?"
Joss Whedon: Does this series finale make my butt look big?Voice from off-camera: No. You make your butt look big.Joss Whedon: (fake crying) Waah.
- Speaking of Joss Whedon, there's a clip of him floating around the internet sitting in a school bus filming the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Tony DiNozzo references the trope in the NCIS episode "Faking It," as part of an ongoing argument with Ziva about men lying to women: "'Honey, does my butt look big in these pants to you?' Actually, yes, sweetheart, your butt looks as big as Alabama. Didn't want to say anything, but you've got the 'bama butt going on."
- Ziva looks offended after Tony said, " Didn't want to say anything, but you've got the 'bama butt going on.". Tony then tries to clean his mess up by saying, " Not that your butt is big, not that I've even looked.". Ziva calls him a liar for saying he's never looked.
- The Fast Show has a character called "Does My Bum Look Big In This?".
- In the Leverage episode "The Wedding Job", one of the bridesmaids asks Parker, her wedding-dressmaker, and Sophie, her wedding planner, if the dress makes her look fat. Sophie reassures her but Parker, being Parker, says "Of course it does! Why do you think I had to expand the seams? To make you look less skinny!?"
- In an early episode of Living Single Kadijah asks friend if he clothes make her butt look big, The friend says yes. This pleases Kadijah, because that's exactly the effect she was hoping for.
- In Doctor Who, sprinkle in a little Hypocritical Humor and it shows one way how this trope can still work. In "Amy's Choice," Rory, Amy, and the Doctor all have a shared dream where Amy is very, very pregnant.
Amy: Yes, I was huge. I was a boat.Rory: So we had the same dream, exactly the same dream.Amy: (angry) Are you calling me a boat?
- In one episode of The Red Green Show, Red explains that the life of a middle-aged man is just as risky as the life of a young man who does extreme sports. One example of a risky situation is a husband being asked this question by his wife.
- The short-lived sitcom Married People had a variation in the first episode... and a twist.
Elizabeth: Does this dress make me look pregnant?Russell: You are pregnant.
- Titus gave us a pretty awesome example from the title character's dad.
Ex-Wife: Ken, does this dress make me look fat?Ken Titus: (Not looking up from the television) When you're too fat, I'll letcha know. Your stuff will be out on the lawn.
- Mock the Week: "Lines You Wouldn't Hear In A Costume Drama"
- Andy Parsons:"Do you think wearing this bustle makes my arse look big?"
- On the hidden-camera series Girls Behaving Badly, episode Size Matters, the actresses deliberately try on clothing several sizes too small, then prank male shoppers by asking if the outfits make them look fat.
- In Sister Sister, Lisa gets work designing dressed for a VIP (might have been the mayor or someone), and keeps insisting that her dresses look great on her, even though they don't. When she finally confesses the customer is annoyed, telling Lisa that she really did want an honest answer.
- Supernatural. In "Slash Fiction", Bobby Singer has a shapeshifter chained up in his basement. At one point he takes on Bobby's form and quips, "Does this skin make me look fat?"
- In "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Confessions Part III" from his 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood, a lyric near the end of the song says, "And I lied - yes, that dress makes you look fat." Also, in "If That Isn't Love", he claims that his willingness to tell her she looks fat if she needs to know is proof of his affection.
- In Ludo's song "Good Will Hunting By Myself," the singer's list of insults directed at his ex eventually comes around to "Yes, your ass does look fat in those jeans!"
- Baby Blues featured Wanda asking this question. While her husband Daryl dives for cover, her daughter Zoe answers with an honest "Yes", which Wanda calmly accepts, to Daryl's surprise.
Daryl: I didn't think it was possible to answer that question and live.Wanda: I wouldn't suggest trying it.
- This trope was used in another Sunday strip around the same year; Daryl and Zoe are playing the game where the parent says "How big is my baby? Soooo big!" Wanda, not realizing what they're doing, happens to walk in on them, asking how her butt looked in a pair of jeans, to which Daryl inadvertently responds "Sooooo big!" This, of course, has a hilariously violent result for poor Daryl.
- In one Blondie strip, the eponymous character asks whether a dress she is trying on makes her look fat. Dagwood responds by asking whether she means from the waist up or from the waist down, which he insists is a legitimate question. Blondie doesn’t get mad but agrees with the saleswoman that she shouldn’t have brought her husband along.
- A variation occurred in For Better or for Worse shortly after Deanna became pregnant. One night after dinner she commented that she looked bloated and asked Michael if it was because of what they ate, or that she looked pregnant. Michael tried to tip-toe around it, saying it was too soon to tell. Finally, he caved and said it was because she looked pregnant. It turned out to be the right answer.
- Another strip has another variant. Elly overhears April asking if an outfit makes her look fat. She then goes to her husband and complains about society being so appearance obsessed and wonders how April picked it up. She then asks her husband if her outfit makes her look fat.
- FoxTrot: In one strip, Andy asked Roger if he thought she could lose some weight and asked him to be honest. He said "Maybe a pound or two" and she collapsed in tears, claiming she had wanted him to be honest, not brutal.
- In another, he tells her the pants don't make her look fat. Unfortunately, Bumbling Dad that he is, he goes on to say her shirt is what's making her look fat. Cut to next panel, with Roger wearing said shirt (about six inches too short in every dimension including the collar).
- Another strip has Paige asking if her watchband makes her nose look big.
- Garfield: During an Arbuckle Family Reunion, a woman asked if her pants made her hips look big and somebody answered "it's not the pants".
- Jon made a phone call and was told to hold. When he told Garfield his call was "very important to them", Garfield said "and the check is in the mail, and this won't hurt a bit, and no, those pants don't make you look fat at all".
- Every straight male comedian ever, and probably a few lesbian comedians have done a joke based on this. It usually doesn't end well for them. Bonus points if the wife/girlfriend happens to be pregnant at the time, allowing the exaggerated, hormone-induced personification of rage (No, not 4chan) to toss a bus full of Girl Scouts at whoever dares to answer the question. Then she eats all the Girl Scout cookies. Dipped in tartar sauce. With a glass of breast milk from an endangered leopard.
- Jeff Foxworthy brought this up in one of his bits, which had his wife telling him, "Honey, I want you to tell me if I start getting fat." Jeff's response was "All right. You tell me if I start getting retarded!"
- Robin Williams brings up a variation of this in his "Live on Broadway" special:
- In the PS3 version of Tales of Monkey Island, when Guybrush Threepwood shrinks La Esponja Grande with the Diet of the Senses, the result is a silver trophy the player is rewarded with. Surprisingly, the trophy is labeled as, "Does This Corpse Make Me Look Fat?"
- This exchange in Dragon Age: Origins between the Warden, and the golem, Shale.
Shale: I see it found some augmentation crystals. I was not even aware it knew about them... well done! So? What does it think? They don't make me look any wider, do they? I find I am already too wide as it is.
- From Poker Night 2. If Sam is eliminated from the Venture Bros. set first, he gets taken away by Docs glitchy telepoter. Ending up with a clear view of his backside warped into the wall.
Sam: Is it me, or does this teleporter make my keister look big?
- Clorian of A Moment of Peace has a stylistic advantage that lets him safely answer this question.
- In Misfile Cannot Tell a Lie Angel Vashiel was asked by another Angel if a dress made her look fat. His reply that "it didn't make her look as fat as all her other clothes" led to what he described as "the most painful day ever".
- Invoked in Freefall: In order to test a robot's self-preservation programming, Florence asks this question. Helix the robot screams in terror and runs. She considers this a good response.
- In Dominic Deegan, Luna asks her oracular boyfriend what he thinks of her butt. Being a highly competent Seer, he naturally recognizes it as an extremely dangerous situation... the correct answer, however, turns out to be 'Bad'.
- One fanart had Luna ask this question and Dominic turned to his second sight for a response. Apparently, even a seer with the power to view any possible future can't find a correct answer to that one.
- Dan jokes about it in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures .
- Used here with Powered Armor in S.S.D.D.
Kerrie: Does my butt look big in this?
Kerrie: Oh good! The padding must be working!
- In Chopping Block, it's contagious!
- Spoofed on this page of The Princess Planet.
- From 21st Century Fox:
- In Hellbound, demon-possessed dog Kyota tries to scare two guys by describing the torments of hell. They yawn. Female demon Melenethriel shows her how it's done; "Do these new jeans make my butt look big?" They scream "It's a trap!" and leap from a moving car.
- The Bunny System provides the page quote.
- Insecticomics: In the very first episode, Good Morning, Starscream, Shrapnel delivers the line as thus: "Does this dress make me look fat, fat?" to annoy G1 Starscream.
- The Whiteboard: Asked of Swampy by Sandy, in this strip.
Run Swampy! It's a trap!
- Referenced in this Day By Day strip.note
- Sinfest translates it for your convenience.
- Questionable Content
- Karate Bears do not fall for this one.
- In Bob and George, the author asks whether being turned to 8-bit makes his butt look fat.
- Schlock Mercenary invented an AI version.
- A indian comic had the wife asking this, and the husband coutering by asking her if he was getting bald.
- In Exterminatus Now, a spider Daemon Princess asks a pair of cultists if her new dress makes her abdomen look big. When one of them answers with "Weeeelll...", she eats him alive then repeats her question to the remaining cultist. He wisely assures her that it doesn't.
- in The Strangerhood, Catherine is captured by evil Tovar. Among the evil things he does to her is tell her that her tiara makes her butt look big. Nikki tells her it doesn't.
Nikki: But your fat ass sure does make your tiara look small.
- Germaine from Neurotically Yours once asked this to Foamy. Being the short-tempered sociopath he is, Foamy angrily answers "Yes, you are a fat bastard! Now shut up!"
- The Slipstream Forums once had a discussion on the topic "Why isn't Andromeda (A warship with a female AI) shaped like a ball?" Someone said:
who'd want to answer Rommie, armed with 40 missile tubes, plus AP and plasma cannon, PDLs, combat drones, Tweedles, and slipfighters, when she asks, "Does this hull make me look fat?"
- The LoadingReadyRun video Is This A Date?, in the style of a dating show, demonstrates three very bad responses to this question. One of the bachelors embarks on a lengthy explanation of how he appreciates some "cushion for the pushin'", one awkwardly compares the woman to a bear hibernating for the winter, and one angrily tells her that she needs new pants, or to lose some weight.
- According to fan list of "Space Marine Commandments",
- From Phineas and Ferb:
- In the episode "Out to Launch". The boys give Candance a space suit, and when they fill it with air, it all goes to her butt. She then asks if the suit makes her butt looks big.
Phineas: Yes. Yes it does.
- The episode where Candace and Perry swap bodies is titled "Does this Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?"
- In the episode "Out to Launch". The boys give Candance a space suit, and when they fill it with air, it all goes to her butt. She then asks if the suit makes her butt looks big.
- In the Daria episode "Gifted", Tiffany keeps asking if different outfits make her look fat, and when Quinn assures her they don't, she nevertheless changes clothes and asks again. Eventually Quinn gets annoyed and yells "You're not freaking fat, okay?!," leading Tiffany to kick her out. (This has provided Fanfic Fuel that Tiffany has an eating disorder or other body image issues.)
- In another episode we learn that the Fashion Club wants to replace a certain bathroom mirror at school because it "adds at least two pounds." ("It haunts me," Tiffany shudders.)
- In a Spongebob Squarepants episode, Sandy Cheeks asks this while wearing a superhero suit that makes her completely invisible.
- Hank Hill in King of the Hill actually lampshades this with a Genre Savvy response:
Hank: You see, Peggy, that's what you call a loaded question. No matter how I answer, there's a bullet in every chamber designed to blow my brains out.
- There was a cartoon involving two pythons. "Tell me the truth. Does swallowing this pig make me look fat?"
- Another variation occurs in Avatar: The Last Airbender, during the Ember Island Players' rendition of the group's adventures: when Actor!Sokka dresses up as a Kyoshi Warrior, he asks Suki, "Does this dress make my butt look big?" Even more hilarious considering a) the real Sokka was extremely mortified to have to dress like a woman and b) Suki found this moment in the play just as funny as the viewers did.
- In The Fairly Oddparents, the mayor asks the town mascot this question.
- One Robot Chicken sketch was a parody of Highlander replacing the Immortals with Hollywood starlets. After receiving her Quickening, Lindsey Lohan sputters "Does this power make me look fat?" before collapsing.
- Then played straight in another skit, with the guy replying "For the last time yes!"
- In a Code Monkeys episode, Todd asked if a prison uniform made him look fat. Claire responded with, "No, Todd. Vision makes you look fat."
- In the first episode of HOOD, Loona asks this about her inflation power.
- Inverted in Chowder. No answer was given.
Chowder: Tell me Mung, does my butt make this dress look big?
- In another episode Ceviche asks this about his leotard. Cut to a close-up of his gut suddenly expanding.
- In Lucky Luke and the Ballad of the Daltons, the Dalton Brothers had to kill the judge and the jury that sentenced their Uncle Henry to death so they could claim the inheritance he left them. Their first target was a man who ran a laundry. Rather than just killing him, Joe decided to have him wash their prison uniforms first. Once they realized their target wouldn't get back, they just put on random clothing so they could leave the shop. When Joe suggested they stopped at the next town to buy new clothes before tracking their next target, Averell agreed on the grounds the dress he (Averell) was wearing made him look fat.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer has to work undercover for the government. He asks his family whether the tape recorder under his shirt makes him look fat. Lisa says no, it makes him look like a government stooge. Homer insists "But not fat, right?"
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batwoman asks "Does this suit make my butt look big?"...while in Batman's body. Nightwing and Batgirl are understandably wigged out.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Makes Zen To Me," Mojo Jojo tries to roust Buttercup from her meditation by insulting her, topping it unsuccessfully with "You look fat in that dress!"
- In the Futurama episode, "Naturama".
Elephant Seal Randy: Does this kelp scarf make me look fat enough?
- In Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, one of the Beagle Boys disguises himself as Princess Minnie in order to name Pete king. When he is first seen in disguise, the first thing he says is "Does this crown make my ears look big?"
Would more examples make this page look fat? No, honey, you look good just the way you are.
- Don't listen to what he says, it DOES make you look fat, 'cause you ARE fat!
- Some of us like big pages...